Incoming: Jungle's Josh Lloyd-Watson on the London duo's fourth album and the benefits of going DIY

Incoming: Jungle's Josh Lloyd-Watson on the London duo's fourth album and the benefits of going DIY

Jungle formed in 2013, surfing a wave of hype that led to a Mercury nod for their debut. As fourth album Volcano drops, Josh Lloyd-Watson reveals how the London duo are reaping the benefits of going DIY…

INTERVIEW: Niall Doherty  PHOTO: Matthew Arthur Williams

You’re 10 years and four albums into your career. What was the band’s mindset when you started making the new record?

“We’d just come off the road. We took a long time after our first record [released in 2014], which I always thought slowed the natural ascent of the band because we pissed around and did that classic second record panic thing where you go, ‘Oh God, is this right?’ After that four-year gap, we’ve been trying to get those pit-stop times down. This time, we came off the road and went straight back into the studio and got the record done between November and December last year and wrapped it up in January, which is probably one of our quickest turnarounds. I think you can feel that in the music, it doesn’t really give a shit if you like it or not.”

You were seen as a dance-y indie band initially, but Jungle feels more like an electronic project now. Who do you see as your peers? 

“That’s people putting it in boxes based on what we look like. There has always been an element of it being like a producer project, in the same way that Gorillaz might be. Justice and Daft Punk have always been massive inspirations, too. It’s like there’s something more powerful going on than just the person doing it, it’s cult-like in some way. I never thought the first album was massively successful, there was always something bigger going on, so we’ve never seen it like that. That’s the thing that keeps you going, we haven’t got inflated egos, we’re quite realist. We had a lot of [buzz] back then, but the media and the way we consume music have changed.”

What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned about the industry so far?

“Ultimately, that they’re not going to do it for you. The industry jumps on ships that are already sailing. I knew that before we even started Jungle, because we’d been in another project and it had been washed out and didn’t work. I took Jungle all under my control and just went, ‘Alright, cool, I’ll just do every side of this and not leave any gaps,’ all the way from the branding and the online vision, to the videos, the music, the production and the mixing. The idea was to make every part of the process in-house. You’re always going to have someone telling you what they think is right, but those people come and go. You’ve just got to go, ‘Fuck ’em,’ and stay strong.”

Your first two records were on XL, but your last two have been on your own imprint via AWAL. What are the advantages of going DIY?

“It’s an obvious one really – the deals on major record labels are still just insane. I can’t remember the last time anyone went on Dragon’s Den and they said, ‘I’ll give you 120 grand, but I want 85%.’ As you grow older and you do 10 years in the industry, you’re like, ‘Wow, that is a thing.’ That’s just corporations. It’s not labels, it’s not people in the labels, it’s capitalism and the powers that be, the systems that people have created over years and years. Coming off that and being on our own label is thanks to our manager, who’s done an incredible job. We make good money on the masters and we don’t have anybody to tell us what to do at any point, so making the records is much more streamlined.”


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